I thoroughly enjoyed the book as it went back to Roosevelt's childhood and city roots as he first got into politics. Kohn did a tremendous job of connecting Roosevelt's altruism to his father who passed away in his early 40's from cancer. Roosevelt's father, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., was a charitable man and considered an upright Christian man in New York known for helping the poor, trying to shape education, and promoting religious education. When Teddy lost his father, he possibly inadvertently through himself into politics and quickly began championing the same causes as his father. Though his father was never political, the son certainly was and Kohn demonstrates how the young Roosevelt learned the political ropes while in Harvard and Boston. It was in Boston that Roosevelt met his first wife who died shortly after giving birth to their only child, Alice. It was also in Boston that the young Roosevelt found a lifetime friend in Henry Cabot Lodge, a longtime US Senator for Massachusetts. Harvard was very much a Christian / idealist school in the 1800's and Kohn points out how the president of Harvard was very much trying to teach his students to think for themselves, explore humanity, and determine ways to make the world a better place by helping others and following Christ's teachings. (How far that school has crumbled today!) With Roosevelt's education and his time in what was then, and is still known now, as a city of order, beauty, and humanism such as Boston, Kohn demonstrates how Roosevelt was shaped by the mental and physical toughness he acquired (Roosevelt was a champion boxer and wrestler while at Harvard).
Kohn doesn't dismiss Roosevelt's time in the west however. Instead, Kohn argues that Roosevelt's times in the west was merely an extension of his character born and bred in the Northeastern US and especially New York City. Roosevelt had always been interested in animals, land, and nature. While Roosevelt did learn valuable lessons in the west and matured greatly according to his sister's journals, Roosevelt never stayed away from his hometown for long. He was always interested in the city politics and remained that way even into his presidency.
Kohn's book was fantastic and does a great job at revealing who Theodore Roosevelt truly was. His characterizations of him match those of Roosevelt's premier biographer, Edmund Morris, pretty closely. What made this book so good is that Kohn spent a great amount of time portraying Roosevelt's motivations and ideas and how they were connected to his religion, family, and upbringing. To this day, Roosevelt is still the only president to ever be born in New York City and without a doubt, his life and career shaped and changed that city in astounding ways. It certainly wouldn't hurt New York City to have a new Roosevelt take it over one more good time!